A two-month-old Eastern Black Rhino calf was filmed trying to get the attention of his mum in the most adorable way at Chester Zoo recently.
The footage of baby Ike playfully jumping on mum, Zuri, was released just ahead of “World Rhino Day” on September 22.
Ike is one of two critically endangered Eastern Black Rhino calves that was born just weeks apart at Chester Zoo earlier in the year. (See our article from earlier in the summer: "Two Rhinos Born Days Apart at Chester Zoo")
The arrival of the precious pair of Rhinos was hailed as remarkable by conservationists. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), there are less than 650 of the sub-species across Africa.
In the wild, a huge surge in illegal poaching, driven by a global increase in demand for Rhino horn to supply the traditional Asian medicine market, has resulted in around 95% of all Rhinos being wiped out in the last century.
The issue is being driven by the street value of Rhino horn, which is currently changing hands for more per gram than gold, diamonds and cocaine. However, modern science has proven that Rhino horns are made primarily of keratin, the protein found in hair, fingernails and animal hooves.
Stuart Nixon, Chester Zoo’s Africa Field Programmes Coordinator, said, “You’re likely to get exactly the same health benefits by chewing your own fingernails as you are taking powdered Rhino horn. Yet in South African alone, more than 500 rhinos have been killed so far this year.”
“The IUCN estimates that, on average, almost two Rhinos have been killed every day in Africa for nine straight years and they could be extinct in as little 10 years. Rhinos need protecting, not poaching.”
Chester Zoo is currently home to 10 critically endangered Eastern Black Rhinos (Diceros bicornis michaeli) and two Greater One-horned Rhinos.
Through its Act For Wildlife conservation movement, the zoo has also recently provided support for Rhino protection to its partners the Big Life Foundation in Chyulu Hills National Park in Kenya and the George Adamson Wildlife Preservation Trust in Mkomazi National Park in Tanzania.
More great photos below the fold!